Percy Hugo Milton
“Carlton, I’ll be on the first flight to New York in the morning to review the case,” I said as I turned into my subdivision. “It’s been a lot going on with this current case circulating around the media about the copyrights issue. Plus, I’m in the middle of moving to a bigger office downtown.”
“I heard,” he let out. “Congrats man, you deserve all the success coming your way. I knew that big lawsuit was going to boost your visibility. Are you still in the business of buying property, and investing?”
“Of course. Always looking for an opportunity, send me an email on what you have and I’ll take a look at it tonight.”
“Will do. How’s the married life? I know you and the misses haven’t really had the chance to have a ceremony but you know everyone is looking forward to seeing it happen.”
“We’ve both been so busy,” I lied with a roll of my eyes. “I haven’t had the time, and she just got back in town.”
“Be honest with me Percy,” Carlton laughed. “Being married is a death sentence.”
I let out a laugh as I turned the corner to see my well lit home buzzing with people in and out of the garage. There were two white trucks parked along the curve with another backed into my driveway.
“Being married is complicated to say the least,” I replied in truth. “I’m still trying to cope with it.”
“It gets easier. After a while, you get numb to the fact that this is who you have to wake up next to every morning. The wife is going to change your entire life from the house, making things more complicated than it needs to be.”
“I know what you mean,” I muttered, trying to find a park. I couldn’t even pull into my own damn garage. Where the hell was Jasmine?
“They take over the bathrooms and closet. Possibly leaving you with a corner of space to do what you have to do, but you don’t complain… The moment of peace you think you have is gone. Girlfriends are just a taste of it. A tease. When she becomes your wife? She owns you at that point. Owns your life, your wallet, your inner peace. You just have to learn how to deal with it. Most men think the answer to escaping that suffocating, frustrating life is to cheat. A woman on the side solves temporary problems. We get temporary attention, and affection when it's not nagging and putting us down as men, but after a while? Cheating doesn’t offer stability like a home, and a wife will provide so you end up making a choice. That is, until they make the choice for you. Then you’re screwed.”
“Can I let you in on a secret Carl?” I let out as I pushed my glasses up before grabbing my bag. “My wife and I can barely stay in the same room together.”
He let out the biggest laugh, thinking I was playing but if only. If only I had a wife involved in my life, my head, my space like that. Jasmine wanted nothing to do with me.
“Wait until it's time for sex. It’s like you have to schedule an appointment just to see her naked. It’s hell man. I don’t know why I did it. I guess in some twisted messed up world, it's their way of saying they love us but man… marriage is the end of the road. That’s it.”
“Tell me something good about it,” I said as I reached into my back seat to grab my folders.
“Something good about it?” he snorted. “You never come home to an empty house, and you never feel alone. Even when she’s not there… even if she’s decorated it with all her things and maybe my stuff shoved in the corner where nobody can see, you can come home knowing this is yours, the wife is with you and the kids are happy to see you. After a long day, someone or that feeling will always be there to greet you at the door.”
I thought about hanging up right then and there because that was something I knew I would never feel with Jasmine. We were two separate people that just happened to be stuck together but I thanked Carl and quickly got him off the phone as I started for my garage. Passing the movers walking in and out of the home with furniture pieces. Jasmine has only been back for two nights now and already flipped the home to her liking.
Jasmine’s sudden laughter broke me out of my thoughts as I stepped into my home from the garage. Slipping my shoes off as I sat my things down. Food. There was food. She… she cooked? I felt like I was pulled towards the kitchen to see two pots on the stove. One for noodles and the other for meat, and sauce. Even the kitchen looked fuller. Cabinets were filled with glasses, and the fridge was stuffed with groceries. The dining room table still had plastic wrapped around the glass as I watched the men move up and down the stairs. Jasmine stood in the center of the living room eyeing the brand new L shaped grey couch. She wore a yellow terry cloth robe with plaid shorts and a tank top. Her hair was in a high ponytail with strands hanging down the sides of her face as she tapped her chin thoughtfully.
“I really don’t know Boris! I kind of want to move it again, but I’ll make my husband do it!” Jasmine laughed as one of the movers coming down the stairs laughed with her. “I get there’s only so many ways this couch can be position but it's still not sitting right. Maybe I got the wrong size. I want it to crown the living room and face the TV. He likes to play his video games here so I want him to be comfortable with his legs up but I…”
“This is what we’re missing. As an option to put your feet up in the center or add to the end,” a mover said as he unwrapped the final piece to the couch that took it from an L to a C shape.
“What type of games does he play?” Another asked as Jasmine threw her hands up with a shake of her head.
“I don’t know truthfully. World of Warcraft or something? Call of Duty. I always see Call of Duty laying around somewhere. I only know about the princess girl in that game… What’s it called,” she thought as I quietly leaned over the counter to watch Jasmine. It was obvious some of the men took a liking to her but that wasn’t what held my attention, and kept me quiet in the kitchen.
“Princess Peach?” One suggested as she pointed with a snap of her fingers. The men laughed as I smiled.
“I remember playing with my brother and that was the character I always chose. He’s into that stuff too but I leave that for the men. I wouldn’t even know how to hold a controller now. Not with these nails especially,” she said as they laughed.
“I bet your husband would appreciate you taking his games and space into consideration.”
“Trust me,” she laughed with a hand on her hip. “He wouldn’t notice one way or another. I think he spends most of his time here or in his office.”
Jasmine walked towards the back door to step outside, seeing another mover breaking down the boxes as the new patio furniture was sprawled about on the grass. The rest followed her like love sick dogs, assuming they finished with the interior of the home. I took that chance to quietly walk past the group and head for the stairs. Nose twitching at the smell of cigarettes and sweat from the men until I turned the corner into our master bedroom.
Everything was new down to the matching white nightstands on either side of the queen sized bed. The three windows that stretched across the wall showed the view of the woods and backyard as I walked into the bathroom seeing everything that was mine was put away to the side. She changed the towels to grey, white, and black. The small decor was black down to the memory foam rugs and towels that draped from the stand in shower. The garden tub that hadn’t been used yet smelled of bleach but even that had a little fixture in the corner with white candles and flowers placed around it. I walked back out to eye the bedroom again from the black sheets and the millions of pillows stacked against each other. She had her side where books and her walk in closet was filled with piles of clothes, and shoes ready to be hung. My side and walk in the closet was originally my stuff until I noticed her things were boxed in as well, ready to unpack.
“Thank you so much! You guys have made this a breeze!” I heard her say from downstairs. “I can walk you guys out. It’s no problem. I don’t want you all to have an accident.”
The door opened and closed as I sat down on the bed, testing out the firm but doable mattress. You made yourself at home I see. I don’t know why I was shocked by any of this. Afterall, she was on the mortgage just as much as I, but still. This was an odd feeling.
When the door opened and closed again, I could hear her moving about downstairs until her feet padded the carpeted steps as she hummed to herself. I stood up, suddenly nervous to be in my own house and face her when she turned into the bedroom, and nearly screamed at the sight of me.
“PERCY?!” She shrieked, gripping the doorway as she clamped her other hand over her chest. “What the hell… You’ve been here this entire time? When did you get here, and why didn’t you say anything for crying out loud?”
“I uh… I thought you would have noticed,” I mumbled like a child as she walked into the room. Why did Jasmine suddenly make me nervous? She was strutting around like she owned the place when she walked into her closet to take her robe off. Revealing just how short her shorts were from the back.
Certainly gained her weight, and carried it well. Damn…
“I know it's not much but I did make spaghetti for you to eat. I’m having dinner with your sister in about an hour to catch up so I can just bring something back if that doesn’t work. I was afraid to taste it,” she said as she looked through her piles of clothes on the floor before bending over to pick up a few options. “I’m not done with the house. Still have the other rooms to decorate but it's a nice start. They move so quickly. Really nice men. Had I known you were here, I would have made you tipped them. They kept asking me about your video games. I’m like, I don’t know. I really have no clue, and I wouldn’t touch them because he’s anal about that stuff. Ugh,” she groaned as she continued to ramble on about whatever. “Then I have that meeting with your father. I can’t believe he was serious about donating. Next week I’m going to look for a building to use as a base. I have all the things listed out for what we’re going to focus on. Women and children seem to be the biggest issue in Atlanta so far.”
What the hell was she even talking about?
“Anyway, I hope you don’t mind me taking both closets. I have twice the amount of clothes and shoes you have, and now? Half of my stuff barely fits so I’m going to have to buy new clothes. I think my feet even got fatter,” she complained as she bent down again to hold up a dress.
Jasmine walked from one closet to another as she began to lay outfits out for tonight. She went on talking to herself or me… I think. I just kind of watched in wonder. Slowly unbuttoning my shirt, wondering if I should step into the bathroom or just do it right here in my--our room.
This is weird. Either she was playing a game, or trick on me or she really wanted me to believe she took the role of my wife seriously.
“Jasmine?” I called out. She looked up from the outfits on the bed with her finger tapping on her chin in question.
“What is this? What are we doing here?” I asked, suddenly irritated that I felt the need to even ask. “Are you pretending to be nice or---”
“Percy,” she sighed tiredly. “I’m just tired of arguing with you. It’s the same thing is it not? Between us? We fuss and fight or ignore each other. I don’t want to do either anymore. I just want to be happy and in a good mood from now on. I was excited for you to come home and see what I did to our home, and hopefully like it. Do you like it? I tried not to make it too girly and keep the tones masculine with accents of femininity so people know a woman lives here as well.”
My eyes screwed at her in suspicion before looking around with a defeated nod.
“I like it.”
“Well I’m glad,” she smiled as she turned her attention back to her outfits on the bed. “Now if only I could find an outfit I like. I’m going to have to see Lu to make sure she’s okay so this outfit can be for that. That asshole did her so wrong,” Jasmine continued. I stood up. Attempting to unbuckle my watch when Jasmine laid out a pair of black lace panties on the bed.
“I wasn’t sure what side of the bed you wanted but I took the one closer to the window. We can switch if you want.”
“That’s fine Jasmine,” shaking my wrist with irritation. “Stupid watch. I don’t know why I let Mother buy things for me. No taste whatsoever. Do you mind?”
Jasmine’s brows shot up, pointing at herself like I could be possibly talking to the ghost in the room before she tossed a shirt on the bed, and walked towards me.
“My nails may be in the way,” she murmured with concentration as I watched her pick at the band, attempting to squeeze it out of it's loop. “Oh God, I have to hurry up and meet your sister. I’m already running behind.”
She pulled the watch off with ease and tossed it towards the bed as she snatched her clothes and rushed into the bathroom. I started to undress when I heard Jasmine suddenly yell.
“None of my clothes freaking fit! I can’t stand this!” she snapped.
A few more curse words and complaints later and she was out of the bathroom wearing jeans that hung off her hips, showing a peek of the black lace panties and her bra as she struggled to waddle her way to the closet in panic.
“I cannot live like this!”
I watched the meltdown from start to finish as she went back and forth from tops and bottoms until settling with leggings and a long shirt with a jacket over it. Simple earrings and her hair parted down the middle, she grabbed her purse and applied a layer of lipstick on in the mirror propped against the corner of our room. I didn’t realize I was standing in her reflection shot until her eyes met mine in the mirror. Folding and puckering her lips in and out.
Her brows raised as if to say, what? Why are you staring like a weirdo?
“I should be home before eleven. If I see anything on the menu, I’ll bring something back. Do you mind if I drive your car?”
“No… Not at all,” I said, voice trailing behind her as she walked out of the room and started for the stairs when I stopped her. I felt like I had to get a word in this conversation exchange. Just to know I’m still present. “Jasmine?”
She poked her head back into the room in question.
“I uh… I’m flying to New York first thing in the morning. I’ll be back no later than midnight Friday morning.”
She shrugged before starting for the stairs again.
“Safe travels then.”
I sat back on the bed, looking around the newly decorated room wondering what the hell just happened?